19 Ohio counties get back insurers


State officials say they have worked with five health care insurers to cover 19 Ohio counties that otherwise wouldn’t have had a health insurance option on the federal health care exchange next year.

The Ohio Department of Insurance joined Buckeye Health Plan, CareSource, Medical Mutual of Ohio, Molina Health Care of Ohio and Paramount Health Care in the announcement Monday.

Two major insurers had announced earlier this year that they would leave the exchange in 2018, leaving Ohioans in 20 counties without an option on the exchange. The department’s statement says it’s working to restore coverage in the 20th county, Paulding, before late September.

The 19 counties are: Coshocton, Crawford, Guernsey, Hancock, Harrison, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Knox, Lawrence, Logan, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Van Wert, Vinton, Williams and Wyandot.

On Friday in Wasihngton, Senate Republicans failed to pass any one of three variations of bills designed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare. A final “skinny repeal” bill failed by just one vote.

While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated he wanted to move on to other issues, several members of the House and Senate said they wanted to keep trying to come up with a bill that would gain enough votes to pass.

“I know some may want to throw in the towel and do nothing, but I don’t believe that is the responsible course of action,” said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. “Doing nothing would leave tens of thousands of Ohioans stranded without health insurance and everyone with higher costs. We can do better, and I’m not giving up. I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on common-sense solutions on behalf of Ohio families who are suffering under the failed status quo. I hope the Senate Finance Committee, on which I serve, will announce a series of health care hearings.”

State announces deal to return options

Staff and wire reports

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